Why You Need to Keep Looking For Christ in Christmas

This was going to be the year I grabbed Christmas by the horns.

I started early.

The douglas-fir with its scent of fresh pine just right was purchased and decorated
before the turkey was carved and consumed.

Boxes from the bitter cold garage were brought in one after the other. Piled high they covered the tiny kitchen floor where legs turned and twisted to walk around there bulging forms.
Two boys eager for Christmas searched stuffed boxes filled to the brim, pulling out all the eyes could see only to scatter decorations around the house leaving them in the most unexpected places.

 With green garlands and strung cards, the house was fully adorned.
Hand-stitched stockings lined the fireplace and the lights were aglow while candles flickered there flames against chilled window panes.
Advent books were purchased and waiting to be opened and read.

This Christmas was sure to bring all that was longed for and by golly I was going to get it: peace, rest, joy.

It seems when everything is going well that's how you know that something maybe going wrong somewhere else.

They said it was an abscess.

It started out as a cry from a wide-eyed four year old boy and a pain in the neck that came with a fever.

Thus began the days and nights of scans and iv antibiotics and fluids and the alarming decision that surgery was needed.
That abscess it wasn't going to let go.
It was seeping.
Seeping into the head of my beloved, brown hair boy who only wanted to go home.
The surgeon she was going to scoop it out, that abscess, and my heart right along with it.

Mother's we put on a brave face and say its all an adventure and that four year old boy he soaks it up and smiles through it all, hugging his bear completely unaware as his bed rolls down the long hallway towards surgery.

You watch them go and then you wait.

Life, you never really know what's next or where it's taking you.
Nothing can prepare you. Nothing except for Someone. Someone, who until now, was left on the sidelines only glanced at occasionally, never really fervently .

I had failed. That feeling of failing faith and forgetting the Father and not keeping him close at all times through all things and in all circumstances, weighed heavy. All I really knew was that now none of my useless ambitions for preparations and peace, for myself, mattered.

I needed to be in a continual search for the Savior.
Just as the shepherds searched that night long ago for the baby born King and the wise men searched for the star of the Savior, so I should search for Christ among everything, unceasingly.

This is the only way to live Christmas, with this undeniable need to cling to a baby born to save the world.

In the most uncertain circumstances we can find the most certainty in the simple truth that God is with us.

When the world cries out otherwise and hearts are broken and lives are lost and there seems to be nothing but dead-ends and long, twisting roads where not a glimmer of hope can be found remember, we are never left alone.

God who birthed your beginning will never leave your ending hopeless.

I poured over Scripture as I waited. A lifeline straight from the Father's hand. Surgery had ended and had gone well and hearts were relieved.

Time and again Jesus reaches out his hand and whispers, “I am here always even until the end.” {Matthew 28:20} The only One that can save Christmas, that can save us, came and filled a manger bed when there was no room for him and he grew and became a man and whispers to us, “Will we make room for Him in our hearts?”

All we really need is Him and sometimes we have to search for Him, but He is always there and His words will live forever and when we find them we grab them by the horns never letting go.

~Grateful to be able to guest post over at Christian Women Online, a great community of women writing faith filled words that encourage.~

America, Why You're More Than Just Votes

So today's the day.

The day of long lines, pencil colored circles, stickers of red, white, and blue and the dreaded outcome of a country teetering on its axis of an all out grab for power and change.

We're all on edge.

We're all just maybe a hair shy of losing it. 

But, America, no matter what, you're more than just the votes casted.

You're more than just a northern country with social media inventions, a good barbecue burger, Sunday football, take out pizza, and a light bulb.

You're the fertile grounds that keep fathering freedoms into the next generations to come.

You made it through the great depression, wars, plagues, the stock market crash, invasions, natural disaster's and you will keep on making it through.

You soaked fields upon fields red with the lives of good men and women who fought for equality, justice, peace, the right of religion, and the decency and love for all mankind.

You trudged across foreign soils to protect it.

You still keep fighting.

No matter the tally of votes, victory lies in the hands of a people who know that totals can never tear apart the good of a country.

Good people will keep on being good people.

Hardworking people will keep on being hardworking people.

Votes can never count the hearts of people who love enough to keep on loving no matter who takes the center stage.

Two candidates. Two ways to divide a country. One way to heal it.

No matter who takes the oval office there's only One who has the throne and His plan will not be thwarted by a he or she who claims an earthly victory.

The outcome today can dictate a life we'd rather not face, a life that we'd rather not see building up for our children and their children's children, for the America that we love.

We do what we can do. 

But we rest knowing that He never sleeps. 

His plan will prevail.  His kingdom will come. 

And we keep pressing on, bending the knees, raising the arms high, because our hope is not in who on earth can save us but who in heaven can deliver us.

Sojourner's Here

{This post is part of kate motaung, five minute friday's, and the word today to write in five minutes is journey.}

Somewhere, right now, there's a girl that's wishing she could pack her bags and go home.

I've been her often and now I'm wishing I could maybe be her again.

There's something about it.

You can't seal it up, shut it out, turn it off, no matter how broken or bitter or barren it is, it's still home and it's a beautiful broken.

When the door shuts on you at eighteen the eyes glance out a big wide world that seems to simply wrap you in a warm embrace, full of light and you can't see the dark that lingers in the dimlight and the legs just run towards a journey that joins the eager with the unknowing.

And a journey of paths begin full of twists and turns some straight and narrow, some with dead ends and others that seem like they'll never end or keep replaying the same destination over and over.

There's a stand still and life just zooms by overhead and there's a wonder where it all went and can it be gotten back.

Sometimes I wish we could just freeze the moments that matter never to be forgotten always to be replayed.

This is how it is, the journey of life. 

We're all just sojourners here traveling on different roads that ultimately lead to the same one path in the end.

And this home here will never match the kingdom there.

But then that's why there's a journey.

We're somehow all looking down these roads not knowing what it is we're really seeking, but really in the end, we're just looking for home.

To Live Awake ~ As Watchmen on the Wall~Day 31

So here it is the final post of the write 31 days challenge!

It's been a mess these posts penned at all hours of the night but this is peace to the soul for me, talking to myself as comfort food and then writing it down for keeps calms these anxious nerves.

Late nights spent wide away for the past month, have almost done me in, but I'm grateful to be a part of two great groups, write 31 days and five minute free writes. 

It's been rewarding for me to meet new people and read new soul infused posts that what I've received from just reading alone has inspired me to keep journaling, no matter the audience.

But I'm thankful to you, dear readers, who keep rummaging through these scrambled words for some encouragement. I hope you've been filled these past 31 days.

For the last post penned for these challenges, I've decided to post on a topic that resonates deep for me and one that intrigues me while giving me a reason to stay alert and awake to the day.

Maybe it will give you every reason to keep on fighting the good fight through your day even though we're all just hungry for some rest and peace and some certainty that will keep us grounded at ease.

We can't sleep the days away. 

We must stay awake to the end. To the very end.


They say it took place on October 19th right there in Portland, Oregon, at the Sacramento Elementary School, where young boys and girls bushy-tailed and clean faced with bows and spider-man lunch boxes were able to learn something that probably had never crossed their untainted minds before.

It's all reasoning and social skills or so they say, until the video rolls and the mouth gaps open and eyes widen because yeah, reasoning and social skills you just don't darn believe.

Set a drop a sepia background with loud, pulsating dark music, and demonic tones their promotional video is everything but rational and everything that reeks of evil and the dark.

The Satanic Temple maybe coming to a school near year.

The only schools they seek out: the ones where the Good News Club resides.

For every light there seems to be a dark and the dark is rearing it's ugly head at the most vulnerable, the next generation seeking to diminish it's evil appeal in hopes to make it good so that evil can be seen as good and good as evil.

This is just one article. There are others.

When will the world wake up to face the dark and realize that this battle fought day in and day out is not a fight just against opposition but against the powers of the world's darkness. (Eph 6:12)

To those who dismiss evil as non-existent, it will come and is coming and will come to destroy all the faces of good and for those who relent into doers of evil.

There is a war raging an inner battle and it's coming across seas and borders, present here in the lands that we love. Nothing will stop it's path from gaining ground while pushing the good of the earth down back to its dust.

It grows stronger with each affirmation and change of heart or ideal or fallen victim it swayed.

It keeps growing.

The word "watch." 

To be sleepless and full of a spiritual watch.

A watching over as a "watchman on a wall."

If life is wasted and never watched good can fade and evil will reign.

Those little ones, the next generations, we watch over those that are ours and guard their soul sacred linings, their gateway to hope and freedom.

We simply speak Jesus to those shown love, to the lost, and heavy laden and to ourselves.

This maybe our greatest calling.  

The apostle Paul wrote to Christians in the Bible and now He writes them for us to, "Watch, stand fast in faith, be bold like men, and be strong. (1Cor 16:13).

We watch and wait for there is One coming, the One whose wounds healed wretchedness with redemption, whose wounds will win the victory over evil.

What it maybe all about and only about, how we awake to watch.

To awake to the day is to stay watchful, because there is always a reason to wake and He will show us if we stay awake to his amazing Words.


A heartfelt thanks for following these past 31 days! 

Let's stay in touch? 

I hope to be posting a post a week with a few days here and there of the usual short quotes. 

I'm hoping these words reached you deep, picked you up  and planted you right where you needed to be.

...For a recap of the past 31 days! God bless. 

Empty Spaces Waiting to be Filled~Day 30

He said he didn't want it anymore.

That blackened empty book that his Grandma gave him, miles away from home, that showed up in one of her boxes awhile back and that lay untouched until he recently rediscovered it in the past month.

Since then, he's huddled over the blank book, markers in hand, each morning and afternoon and evening filling up page after page with drawings and short stories, his heart alive.

It was unlike anything ever seen.

He tossed it in the trash and walked over to me full of gloom and we Mom's we can see it.

Maybe he couldn't believe it that he could fill every one of those blank pages, all 121 of them, up with his own imaginings and pen.

That's the thing with children with adhd they have these wild, articulate ideas and such a zest for the task at hand, but halfway through to completion they stop and never pick it up again.

I've seen it before in the Carpenter, cut from the same cloth, but with a coax and a few years gone by, slowly but surely the plans come around.

Empty pages are the blank spaces in our lives just waiting to be filled up abundant with Life. 

He took it out of the trash, walked over and gave it to me, repeating the words he didn't want it anymore and I told him just because somethings hard doesn't mean we should just walk away from it all because you can never see the end or don't believe in yourself that you can do it.

I've been hard most of my life. 

Hard and calloused and God he's just been waiting for me to fill up all the blank spaces of my life with His thoughts.

There's been too many hours left empty and wasted blank.

Choices have been made wrong on how to spend time, when what we keep looking for to become fully alive is not less of Christ but more.

So awake knowing that every empty moment, every idle instance, every silent space is a chance to fill up the bones with the beauty of God's being.

I take the black book, place it on the counter next to His school books and start the sudsing of the dishes before dinner and I feel it, a gently looping of the arms around the waist and a head sighing in the back, "Mom, where did you put my book?"

He goes over to it and puts it back on the dinner table along with his other mounds of papers and skips away, waiting for his heart to come alive to the pen.

Love for All Mankind & How There's Only One Way to Love

It's a cold winters day and snow takes to its liking and falls in cascades of white that spreads clean across lawns and rugged roads.

Crunchy steps are comfort to a worn and weathered soul and I feel the chill and bask in winter's white display.
Love is in the air.

Maybe more so now than ever, love is the latest thing and how could that ever go wrong?

I read about it now here and there. The one thing a hurting world needs is love and more love.

The world can be wretched and it's falling apart at the seams and some people are tearing apart right along with it.

All the love in the world will make life worth living all the better, It will seal all the cracks. Burn all the bridges.

I see the gnarly limb hanging there clutching helplessly to the side of the strong trunk, me, going out on a limb, bracing for the fall.

There's a lot of talk about love so much so that the Bible takes a back burner to this love.

Love can come wrapped up in a million different packages presented by people for any reason, but there's only One love that comes wrapped empty; it's a gift invisible.

This love must be spoken as the gift brings good news that must be revealed and shared.

All the love that the world can give can never match the Love of the One who died so that we could live.

And before this, before the love of all earthly people should come the love of God.

Love God, more than people. Hard to grasp but truth spread thick.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart with your soul with all your mind." Matthew 22:36  This is the greatest commandment.

Out of this love for God will come a love to light the Word alive. 

It's more than a handshake, a nod, a good will card, a smile, it's the Words that break worry hearts wide open, the message of a Savior who saves us from ourselves and from a world that's teetering on the brink of combustion.

If we're going to give love, give the good news that's the greatest love there is.

It sets us free from all the brokenness of the world, because God cannot be broken and His plans can't be thwarted and His love can't be comparable.

The Eating Away Of It All~28

{this post is part of kate motaung's five minute friday: the word this week "eat."}

There's a whole lot going on inside.

Inside the heart, inside the mind, there can be an eating away of emotions, a chafing of the soul where thoughts and actions try to co-exist harmoniously.

On certain days this chest pounds and the heart hurts and there's a walking around with a heavy load, because the world can be full of worry and very little of relief and the whole inside feels it.

On some days you'd just like to breathe free.

Free from pain.

Free from worry.

Free from fear.

Maybe this, instead of worry, digest His words.

His promises of protection eat away at all the earthly qualms and chaos inside and there is a peace that plants itself inside rooted deep.

And once digested there's a hunger and thirst for more. 

More of this freedom from it all.

To be able to stand among all the fear, worry, and pain that the world may bring and know that insideit's all okay, because we don't go it alone if we go with God.

Seeing Days as Divine Delays~Day 27

Sometimes it seem as if we're all pawns in a game where we can't see the end, nor the road that's just up ahead and we begin to feel and act and speak and do all things in the same manner day after day.

We wait for the next day and the next day.

From the rising of an early sun to day's dusk there's a mundane  momentum that pulls and drags bodies through a cycle that spins us around and around while we hang on for dear life.

A life we wish could be more dear.

How we can see day's as not just ordinary but extraordinary?

That each day comes wrapped as a treasure and sometimes we have to dig deep, get our fingernails dirty, work up a sweat, fight to keep the good going in the oncoming weeks and months that turn into years.   

Life is never nothing but always a special something.

It's all in how we see it.

If we awake to the thought that the day is already done before it begins we have lost all of the little
joys along the way that could have come if we were looking.

If we really see every day as our story. Your special story, that God entwines into His own we know that each chapter is different in some way.

Your story..a wild, colorful bouquet that leaves its scent wherever it roams.

There is a build up in the book of your life and one day it will all come into place.

The days between now and the climax where we feel the dreaded pulling of the routine rituals of the day, maybe it is something more?  

 A delay? But of the Divine.

If we see it as a divine delay to something greater, bigger than all those moments of tedious repetition, where we're left hanging, suspended in the unknown realm we're actually waiting, waiting for our story to unfold.

All the days thought of as waste are actually God's graces to our divine delay.

I can see it, all of this, leading up to a point, a purpose, a story that affects other stories and littler stories.

We awake never for nothing but always for making something, leaving something behind, building  moments of memories.

Awake knowing that these days or months or years maybe your divine delay to His greater calling and purpose.

A day is never wasted as long as we can see the mark we leave behind in it.

Make day's divine no matter the delay.

How to Make a Home a Safe Place~Day 26


You'd think it would be easy to make home a safe haven, yet it doesn't come without a fight.

To lock the doors and shut out all that's not worthy of our time and attention, to bar the windows against hatred and the ugliness of the world, to feel protected, loved, and encouraged.. it takes time and a whole lot of energy focused on eternal rewards.

It's easy just to let the door fling wide open and let all just come in and out and be brought in or played with a shrug of the shoulders.

What's hard is keeping the home sacred, something special, someplace where what you feel you can't get anywhere else but here, home.

Josiah boy wakes early to the dark of morning.

And I awake to the sounds of shuffling feet against stained carpet as newly awakened legs trudge to the bathroom.

With the flip of the light switch he hastens his steps back to his room and I wince and suck in a breath in hopes he remembers to shut his door softly so as to not wake his younger brother. 

It rarely happens.

But what almost always happens is a soft voice speaking out from the confounds of his room now lite by a soft light evident by a glow from under his door.

He's in Leviticus now. 

I wish I knew where he got it from. 

That zealous for the Lord.

Maybe from the few times he saw me bring the Word to the table? Ashamedly not enough, but a fight every time.

It's a wrestle to bring the Word to the forefront, but so simple and the easiest of things to do.

How can we expect to raise a future generation of word warriors if the word never gets broken into or brought out or beheld?

I can wish for it all I want, but wishes that lack actions never amount to anything.

A home can never be its safest without the Word that brings a Refuge.

For a safe home simply savor the goodness of God.

My hopes for a safe home:

Create a home that worships instead of worries.

Create a space that's safe because of a Savior's grace and because of you who gives grace over and over to weary children and stricken spouses and to yourself.

Create fellowship and honesty among each other that binds His words in our hearts.

Always opened doors and arms to the loved and lost and closed doors to the world's wants and its harmful addictions of selfish indulgence.

This---garbage in and garbage out applies.

Always the prodigal son and never an unwelcome return.

Fill full with good food, laughter, the sharing of souls, brutal honesty, and friendship.

A place where any question can be asked or issue addressed and all responses respected.

Kind words, slow to anger, abounding in grace and forgiveness.

All these things simple to say harder to make happen, but with God all things are possible and we only have one home.

No matter where the head lays, home is the heart of a family that's carried inside.

Tend it well.

Simply Speak Jesus~Day 25

Wind came in big gusts that whipped through weak leaves sending spirals and clusters floating down from the sky like snowflakes on a cold, grey day.

The littlest he runs out, arms raised high, with squeals of delight running underneath their colored display. Content. 

You would have thought dollar bills were raining from the heavens such joy filled a tiny frame.

He climbs the tree house as I pour suds over breakfast dishes finally getting a washing right before lunch.

I see him through the window, talking to himself up in the tree house, picking pieces of bark with tiny fingers.

Moments later I walk out to him dish towel in hand. 

Climbing out of the tree, he runs to me, and points out a big, thick blackened branch laying to the side of the tree house on the grass in a heap.

"Mom, it fell down right when I was in the tree house."

I glance up at the oak tree and see the spot where the rotted branch had torn from its fathered tree and I sigh and fill the lungs up with much needed relief.

What if's begin to play in my mind and I shut them out with thanks.

Later over stemming bowls of potato soups with slices of pumpkin bread, he retells the story to his father and ends it with the only way our story's should ever end, "Jesus saved me."

He said it proud. 

A matter-of-factly. 

With an ease that comes from hearing and talking about Jesus as if He was the next door neighbor who drops by daily with all the good news, he spoke his heart and kept on eating.

No big deal. Just Jesus.

I could only smile and affirm and realize that I get to awake to this every day.

The chance to download all of this all of this holy goodness into these little fleshes that devour all that's before them, more than we think we do.

You would think it simple: Simply speak Jesus.

But for some reason, it can be so hard as adults but as unto a child simply the easiest thing that rolls off the tongue.  

With such a name can come such a hushness that His name barely gets spoken or heard except on once a week on Sundays.

We get to awake to a choice to simply speak Jesus as if He was one of our own.
Or to simply keep silent and let the hushness be our home.

I'm learning this and doing this and seeing this in my little's lives and it's a hallelujah.
Only 5 more days of this challenge and I'm thankful. 

Tired but thankful. 

Even if it's to an audience of one or to the One I'm glad.  

I hope you've enjoyed getting these posts to your inbox, little reminders of a great God who loves to see us awaken to Him. 

I'm still new at this and fall back, but I'm pushing through it all. 

Thank you for joining this with me and hanging on through scratchy, scrambled sentences and ideas. But still six more days! 
Here's the link to go back and remember or catch up! Awake to the Day.